Queensgate buys Freehand Hotels from Sydell Group

George Sell By George Sell
22 July 2019 | Updated 22 July 2019

US: London-based Queensgate Investments has acquired Freehand Hotels for around $400 million.

Queensgate, which also owns Generator, is buying the New York-based lodging company from vendors hotel Sydell Group and private-equity investor Ronald Burkle's firm. The deal includes the Freehand hotel operating company, four hotels and the Broken Shaker food and beverage brand that operates at Freehand properties.

It plans to operate the US company alongside its Generator brand, which manages 13 European hotels and hostels in Rome, Paris, Venice and other major cities. Generator recently opened its first US properties in Miami Beach and Washington, DC, and targets a similar guest demographics as Freehand.

"The acquisition of Freehand is of strategic importance to Generator and elevates the group to become one of the largest lifestyle hospitality platforms in the world," said Queensgate's chief executive Jason Kow said in a statement to The Wall Street Journal.

Freehand opened its first property in Miami Beach in 2012 as an upscale version of youth hostels, offering multiple beds in many of the rooms but also featuring high-end design and a lounge with handcrafted cocktails. The brand's other properties in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles have also focused on business travellers and offered private rooms.

"It's bittersweet," said Andrew Zobler, Sydell's CEO. "We're happy from a financial point of view, but from a cultural point of view it was hard to see it go."

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